Also known as a bilateral hernia, a double hernia is a condition in which a dual set of hernias is present. It is possible for double hernias to be composed of both a right and left inguinal hernia as well as a set of two femoral hernias. In most instances, the only way to deal with a hernia of this type is to undergo surgery.
A double hernia can develop in anyone. However, it is usually elderly males and children who appear to be the highest risk groups. The placement of the first hernia in the sequence may increase the chances for developing a companion hernia. For example, if a left inguinal hernia develops first, the odds that the same type of hernia will develop on the right side are increased significantly. Once a diagnosis for a bilateral hernia is made, physicians normally choose to move forward with treatment quickly.
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It is important to note that the presence of a double hernia is often more difficult to deal with than a single hernia. Support garments such as belts or briefs may work very well with a single hernia, but may not offer the stability required to prevent further growth or damage with a double hernia. For this reason, physicians tend to monitor the growth of this type of hernia condition closely and often recommend surgery as soon as it is practical.
There is some difference of opinion in the medical community regarding whether to address both components of a double hernia at one time or repair each hernia at separate times. Healthcare professionals who promote the idea of two repairs point to the possibly longer recuperative period as well as the enhanced chances for infection and other risk factors that could impact the ability of the patient to heal. Others consider the amount of risk to not be appreciably higher than when treating a single hernia. If there are no complicating factors, they see no reason to not deal with both hernias during the same surgical session.
Treatment options for repairing damage caused by a double hernia will vary depending on the location and type of hernias involved. The age of the patient is also an important factor. A procedure that would work relatively well for a young person may not be a viable process for someone over sixty years of age. For this reason, the attending surgeon will take into consideration the age, general physical condition, and the presence of any other ailments that could inhibit the healing process before deciding on the best way to deal with the double hernia.